Enough Time to Weave

The best things take time. Time (years) to know what you want to learn. Time to study, time to practice, time to put into practice what you’ve studied. By the time you finish a work of art you have invested more hours than most observers will ever realize. If you have ever made anything, you know the most common question you are asked: How long did it take you to make that? Answer: A lifetime, really.

Tapestry progresses row by row.
Cartoon under the warp is held in place with a plastic clip on each side. Center warp end is marked so I can line up the cartoon horizontally. Horizontal marks on the warp and on the cartoon provide for accurate vertical alignment.
Boat shuttle with 6/1 tow linen rests on the side frame. Linen picks are woven between pattern rows of wool colors in this style of tapestry.
As I weave, I pay attention to the cartoon that is visible beneath the warp to see where to make color changes.
At the end of my time at the loom I stand back and look at the progress. And then, I stand up on a stepstool to get a good view from above. And then, I pull out my little monocular and look through the back of it to see what I can see from a distance. What I see: one cut fig and a couple more figs emerging. You will see what I see when this is off the loom and hanging on the wall across the room. All it takes is time.

Time is the greatest gift. We always have enough time. How will we invest it?

May your lifetime reveal the good investments you’ve made.

Happy weaving all the time,
Karen

Grand Canyon Weaver

I like to come prepared when we travel. Prepared to weave, that is. Our recent camping trip to Grand Canyon National Park, North Rim is no exception. Relaxing after a full morning of hiking? That’s tapestry time. Rainy day? No problem. Time to pull out my small tapestry frame and do some tapestry weaving.

Sitting on a log to do a quick sketch. Widforss Trail on a Sunday morning was a wonderful way to worship our Creator.
Ponderosa Pines fill the North Rim Campground. It is refreshing to sit there for some relaxed tapestry weaving. Weaving from the back, meaning the face of the tapestry is facing away from me.
Weaving outside in the cool afternoon.

To view the incomparable expanse of the Grand Canyon leaves me in awe. It’s as if the glory of our Creator is on full display. Oh, the colors, textures, and breathtaking drama!

Sunset brings a hush over the vast Grand Canyon. Vibrant colors, phenomenal textures, in an unfolding dramatic ending–this is the language of a weaver.
Weaving inside the Casita Travel Trailer until the skies clear up. Messy back of tapestry because I’m not trimming any more than necessary – fewer scraps to keep track of.

Our hearts turn to recognize God’s authority when we view the wonders of his creation. And, in the awe of it all, we pause to consider the vastness of his personal love, such that the Grand Weaver grants us the pleasure of creating something small with colored bits of yarn. Oh, the wonder of it all!

Pondering the deep questions of life.
There is still work to be done. This (second) Rain Girl is not in a hurry. She is ready for me anytime I decide to add more colored bits of yarn.

May you come prepared.

With wonder,
Karen

Dive in – Be Immersed in Color and Yarn

I started this warp as a place to test some tapestry techniques. I have studied, practiced, and evaluated my own results from techniques used by various tapestry artists. What I have learned is that I prefer the techniques that I am already familiar with, that I learned from my friend Joanne Hall. I am ready to dive in one more time on this warp to refine my own approach to pictorial tapestry weaving.

Tapestry tests and samples are on this warp. My mind is made up. I’m ready to start again.

This little hand-built loom has been sitting idle long enough. It’s time to start again. Starting takes courage. The cartoon is almost ready. Soon, this little loom will be back in action as my favorite place to be immersed in color and yarn.

Piecing pages together to make the cartoon. Only a few more adjustments are needed in the cartoon. The cartoon is being developed from a recent watercolor sketch of morning coffee and fresh figs.

May you start as soon as you can.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

Tapestry Story

It’s as if every row ends with a cliffhanger, and I want to see what will happen next. I know the end of the story, but I’m still eager to see how it plays out. This is how I experience tapestry weaving. I linger here as long as I can. When I do walk away from the loom, I’m already anticipating the next time I get to do this.

Butterfly wing. This second butterfly image shows more detail than the first butterfly image on this warp (which is now beginning to touch the cloth beam).
Cart with balls of wool yarn sits beside the loom for making new yarn butterflies as I go.

I use a cartoon of reduced size as a color reference for making butterflies. A black-and-white version shows me value contrasts. I twist strands of yarn together to find a specific hue and value. Each new butterfly becomes integral to the cliffhanger story. At the loom, my thoughts are fully engaged in the details of this story.

I combine various wool yarns until I find the right combination for the color I want to add to the tapestry. The thickness of each bundle of strands for a butterfly is approximately equivalent to the thickness of 4 strands of Borgs 6/2 Tuna wool yarn.
Every row brings new excitement.
Reduced-size cartoon helps me find the needed hue (color) and intensity (relative brightness or dullness) for yarn butterflies. The black-and-white version helps me see the value (range of light to dark as seen on a gray scale) in comparison to neighboring values.

When I pray, my thoughts are fully engaged in the details of life. Prayer answers our heavenly Father’s invitation to come and be alone with him. He listens as we talk to him about our life’s cliffhangers. Prayer is so much more than making requests. It’s about consulting with our Father to gain his heavenly point of view for the tapestry he is creating. When we see the strands come together just so, we know our life’s story is in the Grand Weaver’s hands.

May your cliffhangers have happy endings.

Your friend,
Karen

Tapestry Cartoon – Zoom In

For this second butterfly sample I am zooming way in, to expose more detail of the delicate stained-glass wing. Transforming the photograph into a weaveable cartoon is a fascinating task in itself. In real life, when do we ever get this close a look at the intricacy of the fluttering wing?

Butterfly wing detail for a tapestry.
Color rows of black, green, yellow, and gold wool weft are woven in a rosepath pattern to frame the beginning of the tapestry. My “go-by” is a smaller replica of the cartoon that is under the warp.

The primary reason for these butterfly samples is for me to gain a better understanding of how the details of the cartoon image relate to the sett of the warp on the loom. My goal is to thoroughly explore this style of tapestry. So, I aim to become adept in creating well-suited cartoons.

You can see the tapestry cartoon under the warp.
In progress. You can see the cartoon under the warp.

Let’s zoom in to the familiar scene of baby Jesus generations ago. The child born in a Bethlehem stable drew the attention of lowly shepherds, not impressive celebrities. Announced by angels, not by stately heralds. The detail clearly depicts something out of the ordinary: There is a kingdom that is not of this world. A King who shows up, not cloaked in royalty, but wrapped in the cloth on hand. What an intricate plan it is that a babe named Jesus would become our Savior King! And, that he transforms the image of those whose hearts invite him in.

May you examine the Christmas story in detail.

Looking forward to Christmas,
Karen